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David T. Cole

Your Own Personal Hell: Guest Experiences At Hotels

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This one's easy, not even close... The old Radisson on I-Drive in Orlando, FL. It has a new name these days but I checked out its recent reviews on a couple of travel sites and apparently the new owners didn't spend a dime on it and it's still a dump. Gordon Ramsay couldn't help this place, mainly because the owner and people who work there just don't care.

 

It looked like a vintage 1970s 5-story hotel from the outside with exterior walkways and railings. We checked in - this was about 5 years ago - and the first room was a hellhole. There was no running water in the bathroom sink, the lid of the toilet wouldn't stay up, one leg of the TV stand/dresser was missing so the TV itself was at a severe angle. Time for a new room!

 

The 2nd room they put us in seemed better at first. Then we discovered the drapes wouldn't close all the way so anyone walking by outside could look in at us. The TV was on a better stand but it didn't work at all. Then the air conditioner kicked in. BBBBBZZZZZBBBBZZZZ Yes, ACs make noise, but this one had to be at least 70 decibels loud. No way you could sleep with that noise all night. I remember calling the front desk and when they picked up I held the phone up to the AC unit for a few seconds, then bellowed into the phone DO YOU HEAR THAT?????? We laugh about it now but it was an extremely unpleasant experience. Not something anyone should have to pay for to endure.

 

We got yet another room, this one on the ground floor and the maintenance man helped us move our suitcases, and the room was more like an employee crash-pad than a guest room. The bed was a Murphy bed that swung down from the wall and had a 2" foam mattress on a wooden platform. The electrical fixtures and outlets had no cover plates on them. The desk-thing had a clipoard on it with some papers for hotel business. But the TV and AC worked, not too loud, and we were able to finally fall asleep at about 2 am.

 

What a nightmare. We checked out early and found another hotel. Thankfully we never encountered any bugs. Like I said, Ramsay couldn't help this place. It would be mission impossible.

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I don't remember the name of this place, but by the time the night was over we were laughing.

My boyfriend and his two sons and I went to Boone, NC to meet up with some friends for the day. I made reservations via Yahoo for rooms at a lodge that had some beautiful photos of the views. It looked rustic and beautiful. We had the address in our GPS and off we go. We wound up in a gated neighborhood and thought for sure we were lost. No, this hotel was in there somewhere. We reached the last road, GPS telling us it was just ahead. We see a huge gate blocking the road. So, I call the hotel and someone answers and tells us they are closed. Their power was out, the restaurant was closed and they were not accepting any guests.

I called Yahoo and they told me I couldn't get a refund. I gave him the number of the hotel to call because the idiot said he had to confirm with them and he didn't have the number. Dude, it's on your website. Anyway, a few minutes later he called back and said they were going to give us a credit "this time."

I am still amazed we had cell service up there in the middle of nowhere.

We drive back into town and start stopping at all the various hotels along our route. No one had any available rooms. It's a college town, but this wasn't during the school year so I am not sure what big event was going on that so many people were there. I used to go to college there so I knew of a few local places.

We found Greene's Motel, a really retro looking place up on a hill across from the mall. So, there were fast food joints available at least. Because this place didn't have a restaurant. However, the lady got us into a room with two queen beds quickly. I laughed when one of my BF's sons asked about room service. I pointed to the two vending machines and said, "There it is."

The rooms weren't too bad, better than I expected. Then the younger son goes off to find extra pillows. He raided the laundry closet and brought back pillows, blankets and towels. I asked "What, no shampoo?" LOL, he thought he would to out scouting again but I told him he'd done enough. Since the two brothers didn't want to sleep together, one of them put the chair cushions on the floor and made a bed. By the time we scrounged around for something for dinner, listened to some dude playing guitar down the hall, and watched the Harley bikers racing around in the parking lot, we decided to call it a day.

As I said earlier, we laughed about it by the time we were falling asleep.

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My worst hotel stay was at a motel (does that count?) in San Diego. But I have very fond memories of it, because of the person I was with. He was my first real boyfriend, and I was madly in love with him, and we couldn't afford very much since he was 19 and I was 18. It was called the Best Rest Motel. It had a neon sign and a desk clerk who had his feet up, smoking and watching a portable tv, when we came in. The first time we stayed there we got a pretty good room. It had a small kitchen with pots and pans, and a shower with really good water pressure. The tv took forever to warm up - I think it was one of those old vacuum tube tvs (this was the 80's). The second time we stayed there, the room we got had roaches - even in the bed. And yeah, we still stayed there, after we had shooed the roaches away. The things we do for love (or lust, as it were)...

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I stayed in a B&B in London while I was in college but other than that I've never been able to afford a hotel in my life.  And they're nasty.  Who wants to sleep in beds that have been slept in by thousands with bodily fluids all over the walls, carpet and bedspread that is never washed? 

 

I really would rather have Kitchen Nightmares than this show..

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My company sent me to Los Angeles for business one time and got me a room at a Quality Inn.  It was a tall building that, apparently had been converted to an extended stay hotel recently, based on the huge "Extended Stays Welcome" banner hanging on the side of the building and all the portable BBQ grills on so many of the room balconies.  As I drove up to the entrance, I parked behind the coroner's car, just as they were wheeling a body out the front door.  I went to the front desk to check in.  When the manager asked if I had a room preference, I said, "Whichever room that last guy DIDN'T have."  

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I was quite young when this happened, but I remember coming home from up north after the folks had been taking turns driving and stopping somewhere in north Florida at a hotel infested with roaches and Dad almosf getting into a fight with the owner over the accommodations. That's all I can remember, ha ha.

This one's easy, not even close... The old Radisson on I-Drive in Orlando, FL. It has a new name these days but I checked out its recent reviews on a couple of travel sites and apparently the new owners didn't spend a dime on it and it's still a dump. Gordon Ramsay couldn't help this place, mainly because the owner and people who work there simply didn't care.

Was that hotel featured on this show or another of this type? It sounds familiar to me.

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Dreadful, dingy little motel in Maryland. I've blocked most of the memories, but it's stuck with me that when the staff got off work for the day, they went out the main entrance and sat down on the curb with beers and cigarettes and a few bottles of booze to hang out, so you had to weave your way between a pack of derelict-looking drunks to get to the front desk and check in.

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Was that hotel featured on this show or another of this type? It sounds familiar to me.

 

Not sure, if it was I'd pay to see that. Radisson Barcelo it was called back then. I found out that TripAdvisor has reviews for the place going all the way back to when I stayed there (and even before that). The reviews from then until now pretty much all agree that the place is still dreadful. Such a great location. Such an awful experience.

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For me it was the Dayton Airport Hotel.  I had a flight diverted to Dayton (long story including a loss of cabin pressure and TWA apparently deciding that passengers flying from St. Louis to Pittsburgh wouldn't mind if they added a stop in Dayton) and we were forced to spend the night there.  The airline put us up in the Dayton Airport Hotel, a complete dive.  It was winter, and apparently the hotel didn't believe in heating rooms unless there were actual guests in them.  So, thanks to the open bathroom window the room was about 45 degrees when I got to it.  Luckily, I only had to spend about 5 hours before leaving for my flight the next morning, the room had almost heated up by then.  At free (to me) the room was a ripoff.

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I just remembered a true motel from hell....

When I was about 10, my sister and brother 5 and 4, Dad decided to take us to Myrtle Beach for vacation. We rode down there in a Dodge Dart 2-dr with no AC, it was about a 5-6 hr. drive. We didn't have reservations and it was the week of the 4th of July. Dad had just taken up golf and he wanted to play down there. Well.... the Holiday Inn was full, as were several other places we stopped. The only place that had a room for us was this little 2-story wooden building right next to the amusement park. Mom spent the day on the beach with us (with her book) while we played in the water. Dad golfed. We'd go someplace for dinner at night, then back to that room. 5 people in one room, and every time the roller coaster went by, the windows rattled and the room shook. I think my brother slept in his little portable playpen thing while my sister and I shared one regular sized bed.

When I got older and we'd stay at nicer hotels in Myrtle Beach each summer, and eat at nicer restaurants, I'd look at that rickety little building and wonder who was staying in that room that shook when the roller coaster came by.

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I remember when Dad and I were goinh to Germany last September for a family reunion we were boarded at a Radisson in Piscataway, New Jersey that was about an hour from the airport. It was the first time I'd been to a place with those sleep-o-meter beds. My setting was NULL b/c no matter how long I held the sleepmatic control, there was never a number or any inflation to the mattress!

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That story reminds me of the beds that vibrated when you put a quarter in a machine. I think the first time I saw one of those was when I was little and we were on the road to visit relatives and stopped at the first place we could find. Probably something like a Motel 6.

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That story reminds me of the beds that vibrated when you put a quarter in a machine. I think the first time I saw one of those was when I was little and we were on the road to visit relatives and stopped at the first place we could find. Probably something like a Motel 6.

 

Magic Fingers beds circa 1965!!!  Which was ridiculous, since all your quarter got you was a few minutes of the bed shaking.  

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That story reminds me of the beds that vibrated when you put a quarter in a machine. I think the first time I saw one of those was when I was little and we were on the road to visit relatives and stopped at the first place we could find. Probably something like a Motel 6.

LOL!  I knew the son--grandson? can't remember--of the man who invented "Magic Finger" beds.  He'd spent his teenage summers driving up and down the eastern corridor, scraping quarters out of the machines next to the beds.  He'd be on the road for weeks, driving a car with a reinforced floor because the quarters were so heavy.  He paid for all his gas, meals, etc. with quarters.

 

Ha, maybe it was all a huge lie, but his stories were hysterical.

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I once stayed in a motel where the mattress was encased in stiff plastic that crackled every time you moved. It was so lumpy and uncomfortable that I seriously considered the floor and the tub as alternatives. I guess the first clue about this place was when they insisted on cash up front. The place is now legendary in our family, and even the next day, we laughed ourselves silly about it. But it was one of the most uncomfortable nights of my life.

Edited by peggy06
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I went away for work in Oct. I stayed at 2 different extended stays. Both were the worst hotels I'd ever stayed at. The first one had scuffed up walls. The armchair looked like terrible, peeling and faded leather. The desk chair made me not want to sit in it. The room kind of smelled like smoke. The kitchenette and bathroom just looked old. The second one was an upgrade but everything still looked old. The room smelled a bit like smoke. I was surprised the places were like that considering they were in busy business districts. It's like step your game up.

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I think the worst hotwl experience was in a timeshare sort of place my grandfather wanted to buy.

I was right on Pacific Coast Highway in San Juan Capistrano. The noise was so awful with all the alcoholics and motorcycle gangs and stupid tween girls running up and down the street. I like to be quiet when I go to the beach, that's why I only hang out on the shore in the winter and spring because up until November it is nearly impossible to have one quiet day.

It was so damn loud up until about 1 am and the people in the building were really weird, cooking stinky food and leering at you as you walked down the halls.They only had two washing machines and dryers (!!!) and an ugly sauna that was occupied 99.9% of the time by half naked swingers with their martinis. It was only nice when I got up at 5 am and took a walk down by the shore to watch the waves. The places were for sale but they wanted up to 900k for this crap?! The rooms went from $200 to $500 a night. What a joke! I told my grandfather NO! and suggested he look elsewhere...

Edited by BathKol

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Hotel Bodmer in Ripley, OH.  1978 we were on our way to KY for a family reunion when our car broke down.  Pulled off the road in an old gas station.  It's 10pm and we couldn't find anywhere close to find out the problem (pre cellphone days) plus the town shuts down at 5pm. We're right downtown so we....hubby, me & 8 yr old son...walked a couple of blocks to an old (mid 1800's) 4-5 story hotel.  Talk about a flop house!  Guy passed out in the lobby, lowlifes everywhere but we were kind of stuck.  Went to the first room and the bed was wet...I mean soaking...in one corner from a leak in the roof.  Smelled awful.  We went down and got another one.  Not much better but at least the bed was dry.  Noises in the hall all night long.  Yelling and partying everywhere.  We slept with one eye open.  Outta there as soon as we could in the morning.  My aunt was passing thru the next morning on her way to the reunion so we left the car and she picked us up.  We laugh about it now.  It certainly was an adventure!

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I had a good experience at a place where I didn't expect one. We were in Boone, NC and had reservations at a hotel /lodge that was off the beaten path. Once we finally found it, the gate was locked. I called and they said they'd lost power and couldn't have guests. OK, so off we go in search of a place to stay the night. All the major chain hotels in town were full (parents weekend at the local university) but we found rooms at Green's Motel. My friend's son asked "Do they have room service?" and I said yes, and pointed to the vending machine outside. It turned out to be a great place to stay. Comfortable, quiet, great staff. I later found out that a high school friend worked there, cleaning rooms, when she was in college.

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I can also give a recommendation for the Home 2 Suites by Hilton in downtown Atlanta. Stayed there last weekend. It's across from CNN and the World of Coca-Cola and Centennial Olympic Park are right there. The hotel has only been open for a few weeks. Every single person who works there will smile and greet you. They have lots of microwavable food for sale, as you have a nice microwave, dishes, dishwasher, large full-size fridge. Wonderful breakfast bagels, too. We walked around and my nose led us to a fun restaurant/sports bar for dinner. Ted's Montana Grill is there, down the street, but it's such a popular place there's a long wait for a table. We went to the aquarium where my service dog tried to catch a sea otter who was showing off in his habitat. And if you're there, treat yourself to a visit of The Chihuly Garden exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Breathtaking.

Most interesting thing about this hotel is the building has been there for more than 100 years. It used to be a halfway house before Hilton bought it. The staff is very knowledgeable and I loved hearing their stories about the building.

We're going to a football game at UNC in September and will be staying at the Chapel Hill University Inn, as it's close to my friend's home that's taking us to the game. I'll let you know how it is.

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